Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad — this time featured at an art exhibition with a caricature contest — may have again drawn fire. Two armed assailants have been shot dead after firing at a security guard outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, during a conference hosted by the anti-Islam group American Freedom Defense Initiative. Authorities have named Elton Simpson as one of those killed. While there’s no word on motive, Simpson was accused in 2010 of planning to travel to Somalia for terrorism purposes, and he was convicted of lying to authorities.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a last minute boon for Labour. Britain goes to the polls on Friday, and activist comedian Russell Brand is throwing his weight behind opposition leader Ed Miliband, in an unexpected move that contradicts his earlier declarations to his 9.62 million Twitter followers that voting is a waste of time. Voters will head to the polls on Thursday in a neck and neck contest that could see the Scottish National Party being a kingmaker if neither Conservative nor Labour wins a majority.
He was in critical condition for two days. Officer Brian Moore was shot by ex-con Demetrius Blackwell, who fired into Moore’s car Saturday while being questioned. A thousand people gathered for an evening vigil to honor the fallen policeman, and the Queens District Attorney announced that charges against Blackwell would be upgraded from attempted murder to murder in the first degree. Moore’s death calls attention to the real dangers police face and may divert national focus from the police brutality in the headlines in recent days.
But China wants to be first among equals. The Chinese president met the leader of Taiwan’s ruling party, ending a six-year negotiation drought, in a bid to resolve their longstanding political feud over whether the breakaway province should be back in the fold. Xi told Nationalist Chairman Eric Chu that they should consult on an “equal basis under the principle of ‘one China,’” and is offering economic incentives. But Chu’s Nationalists — considered pro-Beijing — may lose votes if they lean too far toward the mainland.
He went too far. Jean-Marie Le Pen is considered the patriarch of France’s National Front, but some recent comments he made that were seen as trivializing the Holocaust have caused a rift between Le Pen and his daughter Marine, also a National Front leader — and today, she and her allies have suspended him from the party, which will now decide en masse whether to reject him. This feud could split France’s ultra-conservative wing, as some hardline nationalists are still willing to overlook Jean-Marie’s transgressions.
And they’re off. The number of official bids for the Republican presidential nomination is doubling. Today, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina become the first black and female contenders. Tomorrow, the day of Fiorina’s book release, talk show host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is set to launch. They join Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul to make six, but after heavyweights Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and others join, there could be as many as 20 in the fray.
It’s just too much trouble. Goldman’s potential sale of its Colombian coal mines would mean the banking giant is exiting the raw materials production game entirely. The properties are volatile, rife with protests and expensive production shutdowns. And now that coal prices have dropped 40 percent, Goldman is negotiating to unload these money pits. The financial giant will take a loss, but if it doesn’t have the coal mines, it won’t get the shaft if the Fed enacts new restrictions to scuttle banks’ commodity investments.
China questioned over buildup in Antarctica. (NYT)
Warriors’ Curry named NBA MVP. (ESPN)
Freed women share Boko Haram horrors. (BBC)
New York Senate leader, son, arrested on corruption charges. (NYT)
Woman’s 20-year sentence for self-abortion questioned. (USA Today)
German railways call for a week-long strike. (DW)
Australian authorities deny ‘blood on hands’ over Bali Nine. (SMH)
Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, to be precise. That’s a lot of name for a little girl, but we are talking about a princess of England, fourth in line to the throne. Charlotte is viewed as an homage to her grandfather, the current Prince of Wales, Charles. Elizabeth honors the current queen, her great-grandmother, and of course Diana is a nod to her paternal grandmother. Charlotte also was top pick among the betting kind. As for nicknames, odds point to “Lottie” or “Charlie,” but no word on the royal diminutive yet.
It’s either a Nordic invasion or a glitch. Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, is now appearing as part of Norway on the social media giant’s maps, leaving 50,000 islanders unamused by Norwegian ads popping up on their Facebook pages. Complaints have been filed — “We don’t do fjords,” argued one — but the traitorous bug has yet to be explained. And because Gotland is a hot spot for tourism, some worry that the island’s faulty digital citizenship may see would-be visitors stranded … in Norway.
They’re saying the tech world has lost its soul. The CEO of SurveyMonkey and beloved husband of Lean In author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg died suddenly on Friday at age 47, reportedly after falling from a treadmill. His community has been unanimous in their tributes, calling him a mensch and mentor, and lauding his confidence and equitable relationship with Sandberg. His brother, who announced the death via Facebook, is asking for further reminiscences on Goldberg’s profile page.
And it’s all our fault. Some of the Earth’s most iconic plant-eating animals are suffering from over-hunting and destruction of native habitats. A new study has determined that 60 percent of the world’s herbivores weighing more than 220 pounds are currently at risk of dying out. Some companies are going to extremes — including 3-D printing fake rhino horn — to try to curb poaching. But scientists warn that anything short of “radical intervention” will lead to severe disruption of natural food chains.
At least she’s sorry. The British novelist bowed her head via Twitter this weekend, publicly apologizing for killing beloved Fred Weasley, one of the mischievous red-haired twins who died in the Battle of Hogwarts, which Rowling says took place 17 years ago on May 2. Fans responded to ask after other deceased Harry Potter characters, like Tonks and Lupin, and the 49-year-old writer intimated that more regrets may follow but that she felt worst about poor old Fred.
It was a runaway race. After having his penalty shot blocked, Belgian striker Eden Hazard headed in the rebound, scoring the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, sealing their third title under master strategist Jose Mourinho. The celebrations at Stamford Bridge were wild, if not a surprise, with Chelsea 13 points ahead of 2014 champs Manchester City. Many credited Mourinho for taking the risk, a decade after his earlier wins, to return — and hope this signals the beginning of an era of European domination.